When Cho Ramaswamy used ‘merchant of death’ reference to praise PM Modi

Above all, Cho Ramaswamy was a dear friend, said PM Narendra Modi

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 7, 2016 11:36 am
cho ramaswamy, cho ramaswamy death, narendra modi, modi cho ramaswamy, cho ramaswamy modi, cho ramaswamy video, cho ramaswamy dies, cho ramaswamy news, modi cho ramaswamy video Cho Ramaswamy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File pic)

It is no secret in political circles that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and noted journalist Cho Ramaswamy shared a warm friendship. When Ramaswamy was ill last year, Modi visited him in hospital. So when Ramaswamy’s death was announced early Wednesday, the prime minister took to Twitter to talk about his dear friend. Ramaswamy, who was ill for a long time, passed away at the age of 82 at a private hospital in Chennai. He donned multiple roles of an actor, satirist, editor and political commentator.

“Cho Ramaswamy was a multidimensional personality, towering intellectual, great nationalist & fearless voice who was respected and admired,” the prime minister tweeted. “Above all, Cho Ramaswamy was a dear friend. I have been to his annual readers meeting which were an unprecedented editor reader interface. Cho Ramaswamy was insightful, frank & brilliant. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family & countless readers of Thuglak.”

However, the prime minister did not stop at that. He went on to share two videos on his Twitter timeline from an annual readers meeting that speak volumes about the close bond the two men shared.

In one video, Ramaswamy, while introducing PM Modi (then the chief minister of Gujarat), plays upon the famous ‘Merchant of Death’ reference to shower lavish praise on him. Remember, the term was first used by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to target Modi in the aftermath of the 2002 riots. But Ramaswamy puts a different spin on it.

“I now invite to address you, the ‘merchant of death’…the merchant of death to terrorism, the merchant of death to corruption, the merchant of death to nepotism, the merchant of death to official inefficiency, the merchant of death to  bureaucratic negligence, the merchant of death to poverty and ignorance, the merchant of death to darkness and despair…will now address you,” says Ramaswamy as the audience erupts in applause.

The second video that the prime minister shared on Twitter is a portion of his address at the same meeting in which he thanks Ramaswamy profusely for inviting him and refers to him as a true democrat. Starting off with a few words in Tamil, the then Gujarat chief minister launches into his praise for Ramaswamy recalling the days of the 1975 Emergency.

“I’m a fan of Mr Cho. I heard his name during Emergency when he stood for democracy, he fought for democracy. My colleagues were giving me information during those days because I was underground at that time. I was also fighting for democracy,” PM Modi said in his address.

“It requires true courage for self-criticism. Only a democrat can do that. I always feel Mr Cho is a true democrat, a true democrat,” he added.

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